Death is inevitable. The life of a person from birth to death is a complete circle no matter how long or short.
It varies in the ways peoples organize funerals; however, there is one common thing across the world which is before putting the deceased into the coffin, we cover the face of the dead with a white cloth. This cloth will not be removed till the bury took place.
Why do people do that? Is it superstition or science-backed?
Speaking of its origin, the first manuscript was found in the Zhou dynasty. The Zhou ancestor had very strict and detailed disciplines about everything, and they had introduced a complete funeral traditions and manners to pass out on their descendants.
3 reason why people cover the face of the death with a white cloth
1. To check if the dead is still alive
The first reason for covering the dead’s face with a white cloth is to confirm whether he/she is dead. In many places, the media to perform a funeral is often by burying. There have been times that on the way carrying the coffin to the graves, people heard sounds and calls inside and found out the person is not dead yet.
After such incidents, our ancestors frequently took care of the body at home before doing the bury. That covering the face could be used to check if the person was still breathing.
2. Not to horrify the attendants
This is not totally superstitious and in fact, science-backed. After someone passes away, their muscles are withdrawing, especially when they die abruptly. This causes some changes on appearance of the dead.
Aside from covering the face, the relatives also cover the body with blankets so that the visitors won’t be shocked looking at the deceased.
3. Preventing the bacteria from spreading
The human body is very likely to generate bad microbes after death, especially in summer. In the death room, microbes can spread from the mouth and nose of the dead. Therefore, covering the face with a white cloth helps preventing the spread of “toxic air”, maintaining a hygiene environment.
It goes without saying that covering a white cloth on the face of the dead is a testament to ancient people’s wisdom. There are many customs and traditions that we assume superstitous turn out to be science-backed.